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Newsline

News/Business. World events, business news and weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)

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Tokyo 5, Nhk 4, Fukushima Daiichi 3, Us 3, U.s. 3, Panasonic 3, Tepco 2, China 2, Germany 2, France 2, New York 2, Italy 2, Toyota 1, Here 1, Sony 1, Beyonce 1, Obama 1, Mohamed 1, Petro 1, Cafeteria 1,
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  WHUT    Newsline    News/Business. World events, business news and  
   weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)  

    February 1, 2013
    7:30 - 8:00am EST  

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welcome to nhk world "newsline". >> algerian officials have for the first time allowed the media inside the site of a fatal hostage siege. islamic militants attacked the natural gas complex last month and killed hundreds of workers. security forces fought their way in. when the crisis was over 37 foreign hostages and one algerian captive were dead.
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>> reporter: about 100 domestic and foreign journalists were taken on a tour of the facility accompanied by officials. the plant is now under heavy guard. there are three checkpoints between the airport and the complex. and tanks have been deployed. these are the living quarters were many of the victims were taken hostage. we were only allowed access to the entrance. this build is a cafeteria. bullet holes serve as a grim reminder of the violence that gripped the complex over a four day period. the hostages were gathered up and brought to this place. the extremists strapped explosives to some of their bodies. the living quarters are about 3 kilometers from the gas plants. charred and destroyed vehicles line the route.
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preparations to restart operations at the natural gas facility are under way. officials say security has been tightened. the media tour was part of the algerian government's efforts to reassure the world that the complex is now safe. but the journalists were only shown a small part facility and were not allowed to go near the area where the workers lived. there's many questions unanswered. the visit served as a fresh reminder it would be some time we know how the extremists infiltrated the facility. former senior algerian officer says the people who run the plant could have done more to protect it. he says secured guards did not even carry guns. mohamed served in the military
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and then became a military adviser for the president. he said they asked operators to arm security guards. that didn't happen at the facility because plant officials felt arming guards was a bigger concern for safety. >> translator: if they had followed normal procedures the security guards would have been armed. >> officials from british oil company bp and two other plants operate the plant in a joint venture. >> translator: i think bp security was flawed. >> senior company officials were scheduled to meet at the plant on the day of the attack. military commanders who have tightened security if plant manager let them know about the meeting. a spokesperson for bp said the algerian government provided multiple layers of the security around the facility. the spokesperson said the
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complex was run safely over the years and it is impossible to speculate how militants reached the facility. a trailer truckloaded with fireworks has exploded on an expressway in the inland chinese province of hunan. there are conflicting reports about number of ted but the figure could reach into the dozens. the truck was delivering fireworks for a chinese new year's celebrations when it blew up on a bridge outside of a city, a section of the bridge collapsed. the truck and several other vehicles plunged about 30 meters into a gully. five people were killed and eight injured. a search-and-rescue operation is under way but being hampered by poor visibility caused by fog. china says 26 people are dead. police are investigate judging the cause of the explosion.
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sharp may be following the foot steps of some recent companies. ron madison is here to explain the story. >> rough days for some electronics makers. many are staging come backs. sharp is one of these companies. the struggling maker said it posted its first profit in the final three moves last year. sharp executives say operating profit between october and december totalled about $28 million. that came largely from higher than tar get sales of crystal television sets and smartphones. the company set up a goal to start posting profits in the second half of this fiscal year that ends in march. that was a condition for firm to don't receive financial support from its main banks. the managing direct orsaid the company will make speedy efforts to restructure. he also says the company will continue to consider selling it's overseas plants and receive investment from taiwanese
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electronics giant. that will be part of its further turn around attempt. meanwhile panasonic reported its first net profit in two quarters. >> translator: in this quarter our sales fell largely due to stagnate demand for products like televisions and digital cameras. but we managed to post a before tax profit and an after tax profit. >> panasonic's net came to $670 million. group sales were down, though, 8% from a year earlier. the company managed to cut costs by slashing jobs and a decline in the prices of rare earths and other raw materials was also a help. now the firm has kept its forecast for this fiscal year. it's expecting to lose more than $8 billion. panasonic officials explained that the business environment could change, though the yen's decline would push up sales.
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they also note that competition in the digital product market has been intensifying. many japanese manufacturing companies try to regain financial health employment is coming increasingly under pressure. the number of workers in the country has dropped now below 10 million, that's the first time that's happened in more than 50 years. researchers at the internal affairs ministry says the.90 million people were unemployed in manufacturing in december. that's down 350,000 from the same month a year ago. that was the first time since 1961. the figure also marks a 38% decline from the peak that we saw in october of 1992. that's when more than 16 million people were employed in the sector. the cabinet minister expressed concerns about the contraction.
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>> translator: after world war ii japan became the top manufacturing nation in the world. we need to find a solution to boost the industry in our country. >> now one factor for the decline in japan's manufacturing workers is the severe business environment that's really surrounding the whole industry now. some japanese makers are dealing with the sluggish economy through down sizing while others are cutting their labor cost and limiting their hiring plans. the move is particularly prominent in the electronics sector. it has faced intense competition with overseas makers as well as the negative impact of the strong yen over many years. struggling chip maker renesas slashed 7400 jobs through an early retirement program last october. it says it needs to cut another 3,000. electronics maker sharp sent
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nearly 3,000 domestic full time workers last december. that was through a voluntary retirement program. and nec another firm that's taking a similar step, it cut about 2400 full time workers last september, also through voluntary retirement. meanwhile sony planning to cut 2,000 domestic full time workers by march through early retirement. the company has posted losses for fouring straight years. it's also planning to close it's mobile phone factory in central japan. japan's vehicle sales last month were the highest ever for a january, though sales of other kinds of cars did see declines. industry sources say new mini vehicle sales came to 154,000 units up 1% from a year earlier. new fuel-efficient models were rolled out. 383,000 new cars were sold last month. that's down 7% year-on-year and
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also a fifth straight monthly drop. industry officials say the decline stems from the end of september of government subsidies for buyers of eco-friendly cars. toyota was the biggest loser with a 14% drop. let's get a check of markets now on this first trading day of february. european stocks trading higher, though the just released eurozone unemployment rate remains at a record high of 11.7% in december. and this is what we're seeing right now with the majors there. gains across the board, london is higher by .4%. frankfurt gaining by a quarter percent. paris cac 40 higher by .8%. earlier in the day we saw a mixed bag. china's two factory data set the tone. reading of hsbc numbers came out strong but the official figure fell short of market
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expectations. also the yen's further decline helped to bolster tokyo stocks. on to currencies the dollar has recovered. dollar/yen 92.09-13. dollar buying remains pretty strong that's because market players believe the u.s. economy will be able to maintain its momentum. the euro also gaining ground as germany's factor activity gained. i want hit the 126 yen level for the first time in two years and nine months. seeing a bit of a pull back, 125.68. that is going to do it for biz tonight. journalists got access this
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week to a damaged and dangerous facility they often report on but rarely visit. the operators of fukushima daiichi allowed the media to tour nuclear plant. a team from nhk went inside. tokyo electric power officials have restricted access to fukushima daiichi since the facility was crippled from the tsunami. three reactors suffered meltdowns. the plant is far from stable and radiation levels are still high. nhk world's chief correspondent was one of the journalists who entered the site. you weren't wearing a protective suit. weren't they necessary? >> the site has been cleaned up to keep the contamination particles in the air to a
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minimum. we wore masks, gloves and shoe coverings as a safety precaution. we entered through the main gate and it was 3.5 millisieverts to 30. the highest reading was on the ocean side of the building. that house the number three reactor. it was over 1300. we only stayed there for an hour. by comparison the radiation level in new york is between 0.05 and 0.25. >> absolutely the utility will have to dismantle the reactors. what kind of work is going on now >> at this point the most important task remains to cool down the fuel inside the damaged
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units. the fuel could be as hot as a heater, similar to heat emitted by 1,000 electric stoves in a small space. if these units aren't kept consistently cool another meltdown could happen. especially a loss in the old reactor buildings. the other important task is to remove them. this also produces heat, so it has to be kept cool in a pool filled with water. it must be cooled until it becomes stable. work has started at the number four unit. it houses the largest amount of spent fuel and it's easethe eas
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area for workers to access. once the spent fuel is removed it will be transferred to a pool built above ground. but the pool is not big enough to store all the spent fuel so tepco plans to build a new facility that relies on helium instead of water as a coolant. >> how long is it going to take to remove the fuel and dismandle the reactors? >> tepco plans to remove by 2021. next step is to remove melted fuel by reactors and do that by 2036. the entire procedure will take until 2051. that's 40 years after the accident. >> what are the major obstacles?
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>> the three major issues that need to be addressed. first to develop robots that can operate in high levels of radiation. the second is to make sure that workers with sufficient skills to complete the job. the third is to dispose of the radioactive materials including contaminated water, debris and fuel. beyond that, i think it's also important to consider the decommissioning process as a valuable experience. we must share what we learned from this process with international community. it's going to be a long journey. we need to keep a close eye on the work to make sure the right steps are taken. and that information is shared. i'll keep you updated. >> thanks.
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workers have begun removing debris from an area in northeastern japan that's been off limits for more than a year. they are cleaning up wreckage from the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. the debris remained untouched because of radioactive contamination from the fukushima daiichi plant. some coastal areas were designated as being inside a 20 kilometer no entry zone. they lifted an entry ban last april in some areas. but it took 10 months for authorities to be taken resident's approval to create a temporary storage site for the debris. workers have begun sorting 20,000 meters of cubic wreckage. crews will take burnable debris to the temporary storage site where it will be incinerated. >> translator: i'm really glad that they are finally starting to clear the debris.
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i think it's a first step. >> translator: i've received a lot of requests to get rid of the debris as quickly as possible. we will work hard to remove all the debris as soon as possible. >> environment ministry officials say they hope to complete the clean up in other mars by march next year. the nuclear accident prompted a major rethink of japan's energy policy. in july the government introduced a system called the feed and tariff, allows people with renewable energy to sell companies at a fixed price. investors have rushed in to take advantage ofmarket. workers in southern japan started construction on one of japan's largest solar plants. a trading house is overseeing the project and extends over 1 million square meters.
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they purchased the site 30 years ago and hoped to build a petro chemical complex. but a recession foiled their plan. last october they announce ad new plan to go solar. they hope to switch on the plant in april of next year. they project it will be able to power 30,000 households. >> translator: we would like to promote renewable energy, and we would like to help cover power shortages in the region. so we want to contribute to the power supply. >> government officials say that as of november companies have been working on nearly 500 solar projects. each of them capable of powering at least 250 homes. and we've been covering environmental topics. and the boom in energy, in green energy. so how much is this feed in tariff system doing to promote
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renewable energy? >> this is clearly an incentive to produce nuclear energy and receive return on investment. the people who run the plant can sell electricity at about 50 cents per kilowatt hour. that's twice as expensive for current electricity. government guarantees that price for 1 years. experts say the price at least double that of france and germany. it's attracted investors who have not been in the business. japanese are more willing to support renewable energy after the accident two years ago. >> what are some of the challenges facing in promoting this green energy >> one of the primary challenges is whether consumers can afford
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it. the power companies have to increase their prices to cover their cost of buying renewable electricity. an average japanese household already has to pay about $1 per month on top of what they paid before. if you use more green energy that could drive up the cost of electricity. solar, wind farms contribute only 1% of the power across the country. replacing nuclear power requires a significant amount of investment and certainly to drive up costs. it remains to be seen whether government can operate the feeding tariff in a way that will keep investor interest high while keeping electricity prices low. >> thanks as always. american singer beyonce has admitted she's lip synced the u.s. national anthem at president obama's recent inauguration. >> it was about the president
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and the inauguration, and i wanted to make him and my country proud so i decided to sing along with my pre-recorded track which is very common in the music industry and i'm very proud of my performance. >> the globally acclaimed singer set things straight at a news conference addressing widespread rumors she didn't sing live. she decided to use her pre-recorded track because she didn't have time to rehearse with an orchestra. she then surprised reporters at the news conference by subtly singing the anthem. beyonce is scheduled to perform at the halftime show of the national football league super bowl on sunday. she says this time she will sing live. meteorologist robert speta with me now. so, robert, we've been enjoying some nice weather here in tokyo.
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will this continue through the weekend? >> well, gene, we have been getting that sunshine, you're right but can't get it forever here and it does look like the rain will be starting to work its way into the picture. already seeing some showers across portions into korea. you saw it throughout the day. it's clearing up. but out ahead of this storm system we're seeing these much, much warmer temperatures. actually very spring like here. you can see that warm air continuing to couple. unfortunately behind it, things are going to be changing. right now starting to see rain showers. that's accompanied by the warm air that's creating snow melt across much of japan but then going into saturday afternoon, things are going to really rapidly cool off but on the west coast that sea snow will set up here and all this changing in the record is reflect into that weekend forecast. your weekend forecast, actually some rain showers on saturday here in tokyo, temperatures, this is the average typically on
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april and may. warm. but things get cold really quick here going into monday dropping down near the freezing mark. much more seasonable. these temperatures are nothing like what you are seeing here into the u.s. across portions of the dakotas, wisconsin over towards minnesota wind chills here through the overnight hours are getting down to right around minus 20 to minus 30 below zero. if you're out in temperatures like that, frostbite will set in in a matter of minutes especially with exposed skin. still seeing lake-effect snow due to these northwesterly winds coming across the great lakes and that's accumulating up in a few areas especially in western new york and upstate new york, up to 80 centimeters of snow and localized bands streaming across due to that cold air. this is the high on friday in winnipeg. minus 24. the wind chill here is going to be getting down to minus 30 to minus 40 degrees.
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absolutely bone chilly. chicago at minus 12. washington, d.c. and new york, if you remember back by mid-week we were talking temperatures here in the 20s. that is just night and day as far as a temperature change as we don't see that arctic blast come in throughout the week in there. now as you take a look at europe we have a storm system moving through the low country. that brings us rain showers here. it will be shifting over to snow as it sinks down here towards the south and also seeing some rather unstable weather going into italy on saturday because as this goes south it's pulling in all that cold air from the north all the way up clear to scandinavia peninsula. warm air out of the mediterranean accompanied by moisture. up to 100 kilometer winds. this will be the hot spot going through the weekend as far as severe weather. got flight plans coming in and out of italy much of southern germany over towards eastern france you want to check in on this one.
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very well could be causing some delays and cancelations. temperatures mild for the time being but this is also going to be cooling off throughout much of western europe as those temperatures continue to come down. that's a look at your world weather. let's take a look at your extended forecast.
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we'll be back in 30 minutes with more news. i'm gene otani in tokyo. for all of us here at nhk world,
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thanks for joining us.
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